Attorney for Dunbar football player: ‘The helmet is not a weapon’

The defense attorney for the Dunbar High School football player accused of head-butting an official during a game says he doesn’t believe a helmet is a weapon and that he has not been presented decisive evidence that shows the official suffered a concussion.

Defense attorney Brock Schoenlein said his client does not have a criminal history and it’s the defense’s belief that the case should remain in juvenile court.

RELATED: Dunbar player charged with assault of football official

“We keep talking about this helmet. Guys, the helmet is made of plastic, the helmet is not a weapon,” he told media after a hearing Monday. “It’s there to soften the blow. It’s not there to do more damage. His skull is harder than the helmet. So when we talk about what happened, it would probably make more sense for us to stop talking about the helmet as an aggravating factor.”

The legal troubles began for the juvenile when he allegedly headbutted an official during a game in August at Welcome Stadium against Roger Bacon. The player, who was 17, was charged with felonious assault causing serious physical harm in Montgomery County Juvenile Court. Prosecutors are trying to transfer the case into adult court.

A Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman said the office believes the helmet was used as a weapon.

“This defendant, wearing a helmet to protect himself, head-butted a referee who was not wearing any protective gear,” the statement said. “Any reasonable person would find that the defendant used the helmet as a weapon. The NFL rulebook even has an Article that addresses using a helmet as a ‘weapon.’”

The Monday hearing in Montgomery County Juvenile Court was supposed to be a full probable cause hearing where prosecutors would have tried to convince the judge through testimony that there was enough evidence to move the case forward.

Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge Helen Wallace said during the hearing that the defense and prosecutor’s office agreed to certain facts of the case, including that the video showing the charged juvenile allegedly head-butt an official was an accurate depiction of what took place, that the official went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with a “closed head injury with concussion-like symptoms” and that a Dayton police officer would testify to the facts of the case.

The agreement allowed the court to forgo the hearing, and Wallace is expected to make a ruling on whether there’s enough evidence to proceed in the case at a later date.

Schoenlein told the media that whether the official suffered a concussion is important to how severely the juvenile could be punished.

“We’ve all seen the video, and that’s not what at issue here,” he said. “What’s at issue is … whether or not the referee actually has a concussion, because I have not been given anything by anybody — medical or otherwise— that confirms that he actually has a concussion. Because if that’s the case, then we would be talking about not a felony, it would be a misdemeanor.”

An amenability hearing is set for next month — where the defense and prosecutor’ will argue whether the teen can be rehabilitated in the juvenile system.

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